Federal & State Plan

For Federal Updates, Click Here. 


CCDF Final Rule Released

Dear Colleagues,

The wait is over! The Office of Child Care is proud to announce the release of new final regulations for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). As you know, in 2014 Congress reauthorized the Child Care and Development Block Grant and made sweeping changes to the law, and this rule is necessary to address those changes.  The rule is the product of much time, research, and careful consideration of comments received on the NPRM.  When fully implemented, the provisions in the rule will:

1)            Protect the health and safety of children in child care;
2)            Help parents make informed consumer choices and access information to support child development;
3)            Support equal access to stable, high quality child care for low-income children; and
4)            Enhance the quality of child care and the early childhood workforce. 

Of course, the path to full implementation will require continued effort, and the Office of Child Care remains committed to partnering with you in this journey. Although this regulation will take effect 60 days from publication, ACF's goal is to support your successful implementation by September 30, 2018 for States and Territories, and September 30, 2019 for our Tribal partners.

I'd like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you who have dedicated so much of your time and energy to realizing the purposes of the CCDF program while strengthening child care systems, providers, and the early childhood workforce. Every day, you make the hours children spend in child care a little better.

We also owe much gratitude to our policy team, all Office of Child Care staff, to all our partners in HHS, and the leadership of the White House. 

You can find the new regulations by visiting our CCDF Reauthorization webpage http://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/ccdf-reauthorization. We'll be adding additional resources to our website as they become available, so check back in the coming days and weeks for more information.

Thank you for all you do each day for children and families,

Rachel Schumacher
Director, Office of Child Care
Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Mary E. Switzer Building
330 C ST SW
Washington DC  20201
Phone: 202-401-5308 

Click here for a copy of the final rule.

Federal Updates 

April 3, 2017
Trump's Budget Cuts Underscore Danger of Block- Granting Social Programs

President Trump's "skinny" budget would eliminate four discretionary block grants that mainly serve low-income people, and set the stage for substantial cuts to others. These cuts would come on top of years of deteriorating funding for block grants. Since 2000, overall funding for block grants targeted on low- and moderate-income people has shrunk 37 percent after accounting for inflation and population growth. The Trump cuts would sharply exacerbate those declines.

March 29, 2017
WIC Works: Addressing the Nutrition and Health Needs of Low-Income Families for 40 Years 
 Extensive research has found the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to be a  cost-effective investment  that improves the nutrition and health of low-income families - leading to healthier infants, more nutritious diets and better health care for children, and subsequently to higher academic achievement for students.
In a paper released today (3/29/17) by CBPP, we look at the positive results of WIC including: providing nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to health care and social services for millions of low-income families. 


February 27, 2017

The Problems with Block Granting Entitlement Programs

Congress may soon consider proposals to convert more entitlement programs into block grants. 

This includes programs that serve families and individuals who are low income or otherwise vulnerable, such as Medicaid, which President Trump and some Republicans in Congress have called for block-granting.

In two new papers released today, we explore how  block-granting low-income programs leads to large funding declines over time, and the lessons learned from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) block grant.

For a grounding in why it's a bad idea to block grant entitlement programs, we have also launched a web page to explain the basics.

February 6, 6017

Federal funding and California

As the new legislative sessions convene here in the state and nationally, tensions are high on a number of fronts regarding President Trumps recent executive orders and California's response to them.
This week, we thought it important to share with you a series of reports released by the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) on January 18, 2017 that explored the topic of federal spending in California. The first post estimated total federal expenditures in California by major program beneficiary. These funds travel through three channels including: direct payments to individuals, private entities, and universities; payments to the state government; and payments to local governments. For the purpose of the report, federal payments are categorized by their first recipient, rather than their ultimate beneficiary. For example, while most federal funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) ultimately flows to grocers, which are defined as private entities, it is sent to the state government for disbursement and thus are considered payments to the state government for purposes of LAO calculations.
Total annual federal expenditures in California are around $368 billion, which, with an estimated population of 38.9 million, equates to roughly $9,500 per Californian. About 77 percent of this flows directly to individuals, private entities, and universities. State government receives 21 percent of total payments, which is then primarily disbursed to individuals, private entities, school districts, and local governments. The remaining two percent of federal expenditures in California flow directly to local governments. If federal funds that are passed through state government are included, however, local governments received over $18 billion in 2014-2015.
Compared to other states, the LAO found that California receives a smaller amount of federal money per person. The Pew Charitable Trusts published a report estimating that the national average of federal expenditures per person is about $10,200. Based on the Pew estimates, California ranks 41st out of the fifty states and the District of Columbia for this measure. The LAO believes this difference is attributable to California's relatively young population; the state receives significantly less in retirement benefits such as Social Security.
The LAO also evaluated federal expenditures among states by comparing them to the amount of taxes paid by the state. It used a New York Comptroller study to find that the federal government spent nearly $3.5 trillion and brought in about $2.8 trillion in revenue in FY 2012-2013. This means that the federal government spent $1.22 for every dollar of taxes it received. In comparison, California received $0.99 in federal money for every dollar of taxes paid. The greatest beneficiary based on this measure is Mississippi, which received $2.57 in federal expenditures per dollar of taxes paid, while New Jersey, with only $0.77 in federal expenditures per dollar of paid taxes, was lowest. At 42nd among the fifty states and D.C. for this measure, California's rank is likely influenced by the high population of high-income earners, who pay more in federal taxes per person, according to the LAO.
The final post examines the geographic distribution of federal expenditures by county. The LAO found that, "the counties that receive the most federal expenditures are generally the state's most populous. The top five recipient counties are: Los Angeles (with $81 billion in federal expenditures), San Diego ($37 billion), Orange ($21 billion), Santa Clara ($19 billion), and Sacramento ($15 billion)."   Click here to see all of the posts.

January 16, 2017

Access to Subsidies and Strategies to Manage Demand Vary Across States

According to GAO's analysis of nationwide data for an average month in 2011-2012 approximately 8.6 million children under age 13 were estimated to be eligible for subsidies under the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program based on policies in their states, and about 1.5 million received them. When compared with all eligible children, those receiving subsidies tended to be younger (under age 5) and poorer (in families below federal poverty guidelines). (See figure.) Some state-by-state variations existed in these and in other characteristics GAO analyzed, such as race, when comparing children eligible for and receiving subsidies.

Click here to read the full report.


Dwindling Support for Working Families' Child Care Needs

CLASP has released new fact sheets underscoring the need for increased investment in the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). These resources, which also demonstrate CCDBG's overwhelming benefits, come at a critical moment when federal policymakers must begin to make good on their campaign promises to support working families.

Fact Sheet:

CCDBG Participation Drops to Historic Low

Fact Sheet:

Fewer Children, Fewer Providers

Click here to read more

January 9, 2017

On the federal budget and taxes, we highlighted Robert Greenstein's Washington Post op-ed, in which he describes the grave threats programs that help low- and moderate-income people will face under GOP leaders' agenda this year. Chye-Ching Huang, Chuck Marr, and Emily Horton explained that eliminating two Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicare taxes would mean large tax cuts for high-income earners and the wealthy. We updated our backgrounder on the pay-as-you-go rule, also known as PAYGO, which is designed to encourage Congress to offset the cost of any legislation that increases spending on entitlement programs or reduces revenues so it doesn't expand the deficit.

On family income support, Liz Schott and Ife Floyd showed that states spend only half of their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars on core welfare reform areas, revealing fundamental flaws with the TANF block grant. Our new fact sheets detail how each state spent its TANF funds.

On food assistance, Dottie Rosenbaum and Brynne Keith-Jennings pointed  to the widespread decline in SNAP (formerly food stamp) caseloads, which reflects an improving economy and the return of a three-month time limit for unemployed childless adults in many states.

January 3, 2017

State and national advocates come together and send a letter to President-Elect Trump

The Child Care and Early Learning Coalition welcomes your recognition of the importance of affordable, high-quality child care. Child care is critical to our nation's children, women, and families, to the professionals who care for and teach our young children, and to our economic growth and prosperity. The Coalition urges your Administration to move forward with substantial investments in high-quality child care, which will help parents work, boost the well-being of children, and make our economy stronger.

The signatories below support strategies that give low- and middle-income families financial help in affording high-quality child care so parents can succeed at work; that reflect families' preferences and needs for child care; that fund salaries needed to attract and retain well-qualified child care professionals; and that give children the early learning experiences they need to succeed in school and in life and to become productive members of the future workforce.

Click here to read the letter and list of signors.

December 12, 2016

Evaluating the Impact of Expensive Child Care on Families, Businesses, and the Economy 

California - Cost of Child Care

In California, single parents pay more than half of their income for infant center care. Married parents who live at the poverty line and have two children pay 111.8% of their income for center care. The cost of center care for 2 children in California is more than twice the annual cost of college tuition at a four year college.

Click here to read more.

December 5, 2016

Trump's plan intended to reduce high cost of child care through tax breaks
Taxx deductions and rebates are at the heart of President-elect Donald Trump's child care policy proposal, which would offer the most help to high-income families, some help to middle-income taxpayers and less to low-income parents.

In recent weeks, most attention has been focused on K-12 education following the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Trump's secretary of education. But since his upset victory on Nov. 8, the president-elect's detailed plan on child care is getting additional scrutiny, especially in light of widespread recognition of the importance of early education to later academic success.

Click here to read full article.  

November 28, 2016

US Court Blocks Overtime Expansion Pay Rule for 4 Million

A federal court on November 22 blocked the start of a rule that would have made an estimated 4 million more American workers, 392,000 in California, eligible for overtime pay heading into the holiday season, dealing a major blow to the Obama administration's effort to beef up labor laws it said weren't keeping pace with the times.

The U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas granted the nationwide preliminary injunction, saying the Department of Labor's rule exceeds the authority the agency was delegated by Congress. Overtime changes set to take effect Dec. 1 are now unlikely be in play before vast power shifts to a Donald Trump administration, which has spoken out against Obama-backed government regulation and generally aligns with the business groups that stridently opposed the overtime rule.

What does this mean to you?

  • As a result of the ruling, employers currently do not need to comply by the original December 1 effective date.
  • The injunction is temporary pending further review by the court.
  • We have no way of knowing if or when the status of the regulations will change.

If you want to learn more about the Overtime Rule as it was originally written, we suggest that you visit the DOL website

November 21, 2016

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Child Care Assistance: A Weakened Safety Net for Families

When Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) replaced the existing welfare program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), in 1996, it established work requirements and time limits on cash assistance, with the stated aim of helping families achieve self-sufficiency. Recognizing that mothers now required to work would need help affording child care, Congress provided a significant boost in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). TANF had some initial success in moving mothers to work during the strong economy of the late 1990s. However, with its strict work requirements and flat funding, TANF failed to respond to the increased needs of families struggling during the economic downturn, and has left many families without assistance during the slow recovery. Compounding this challenge, many families no longer able to receive TANF cash assistance have not been able to turn to child care assistance to help them get back to work because child care funding has also been stagnant. A number of states' policy decisions have made it even more difficult for families to access TANF or child care assistance. As a result, many families are left without either a primary or back-up safety net as they struggle to meet their basic needs and ensure the well-being of their children.

  • While the number of families in poverty increased, TANF served fewer and fewer families in need. The number of families with children living in poverty, after declining from 6.4 million in 1996 to 5.1 million in 2000, rose to 7.1 million in 2014. Yet the TANF average monthly caseload fell by about two-thirds during that time-from 4.4 million families in 1996 to 1.6 million families in 2014. In 2014, TANF served only 23 of every 100 families with children in poverty.
  • Under federal time limits, a family can receive TANF assistance for no more than five years in a lifetime, and states are allowed to set even shorter time limits. A number of states have taken advantage of this option to create tighter time limits on cash assistance, which can allow them to spend less money and tout a lower number of families on welfare. The shorter a family's time limit is, the more pressure there is for parents to find work quickly, which could mean accepting a job with low wages and irregular hours.
    • Many states set lifetime limits on TANF cash assistance that are shorter than the federal lifetime limit. These states include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. Arizona, which limited families to no more than one year of cash assistance in their lifetime as of July 2016, has the strictest lifetime limit in the country.
    • Several other states, while allowing families to receive assistance for up to the federal lifetime limit of five years, set limits on the number of consecutive months for which they can receive cash assistance. Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Carolina, and South Carolina allow families to receive cash assistance for only 24 consecutive months. Texas limits families to either 12, 24, or 36 consecutive months of assistance depending on the individual's work history and educational attainment; when a family reaches its time limit, it cannot receive assistance again for another five years.